Uncovering Missed Gems

It’s been a weekend for catching up with mindless video style enjoyment, in between back breaking sessions on a 3000 piece jigsaw. My colour blindness and the jigsaw’s bad colour printing (and indeed their trimming the edge of the image on the box lid) is certainly making that more challenging than I’d like. Definately getting value for money from it.

First up was Stranger Than Fiction – the new Will Ferrell film widely touted as a Ferrell’s first effective cross over into ‘serious’ movies. I was a little bit apprehensive about this as some commentators had classed it as a Charlie Kaufman movie, without Charlie Kaufman writing it, luckily it came into its own and was a highly enjoyable romp. All the players were outstanding, with the exception of Queen Latifah who was just wasted, and Emma Thompson excelled as the neurotic writer for whom Ferrell is just a character in her latest novel. Strange, but entertaining – go see.

Continuing in the Charlie Kaufman vein, I finally got to see the wonderful Human Nature – Kaufman’s first collaboration with Michel Gondrey (before the excellent Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind). This beautiful film, which I had somehow managed to miss even though I’m a fan of both Gondrey and Kaufamn, didn’t do so well in the cinema – even after getting pretty good reviews – but it certainly should have. Great performances from all the principal actors, especially Rhys Ifans as the ‘ape’ man trained in manners by Tim Robbins’ repressed, and saved by Patricia Arquette’s hirsute nature writer. On top of the usual Kaufman script forging, Gondrey gets to extend and evolve his nature filming from the Bjork videos of old, plus introduce some beautiful CGI mice. Not sure how I missed it, but hoping I find some more wonders like this again.

Finally, another TV series I’ve been avoiding for a while for some unknown reason, Arrested Development. This now, unfortunately cancelled, series is pure genius – following the antics of a rich, orange county family whose patriarch has just been arrested for improper financial dealings and his second oldest son Michael’s attempts to keep the dysfunctional family functioning and save the company. With the likes of David Cross in the mix you know you’re in for a treat, but everyone else in the cast also excels to produce a laugh out loud comedy that reminds you however bad your family is – they’re your family.

Next stop.. the new James Bond movie, which everyone is calling superb which is good news indeed.

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